Can you still remember the first time you use a hashtag? We do!
It was at the beginning days of Twitter when some words with the # sign came up. Needless to say, who wouldn't be dead curious about what that sign means? Some questions arose: why do some people put it before the first letter of a word? Surely, Google would know! And there, we found the simplest explanation for that mysterious little sign. A hashtag is being used within a message to identify a keyword or topic of interest to make it easier to be searched. Since then, hashtags have blown up like CRAZY over many different social media networks - the word caught on, they really do work.
Fast forward to this day, and we've got to admit there were a lot of things we've discovered about the hashtag. How can it not be possible? And the truth is, being a part of Work It Social makes our day-to-day affair with hashtags a whole lot of fun while we're learning.
You see, it could be tiny, but hashtag plays a MAJOR ROLE in building a strong social media presence, especially for brands and marketers. Experts say (us included!) that its use is almost integral on social - after all, without it, you're really not obtaining that reach that your posts deserve. But here's the 4-1-1: because each platform is different, they also impose different rules on how hashtags should be properly used - and we want to help you figure out the nitty-gritty about this.
Familiarity with the use of hashtag could be okay for individuals, but it needs to be fully understood by brands. There are proper ways to use hashtags for each and every social media platforms. Let’s dive in!
Remember when we told you that this was the first spot where we learned all about the 'tag?' This is actually where the hashtag was born! Some quick facts: back in 2007, a guy named Chris Messina, a former Google employee who worked in developer relations, was the first to use a hashtag in one of his tweets. Who would have thought that from a simple beginning, a remarkable history was born? Twitter claimed to be the home of hashtags since then - and it deserves the cred!
Now, to be able to reap the benefits of the hashtag on Twitter, there are few tips we want to share:
1. A hashtag or two per tweet is more than enough. Remember the saying, less is more? Keep that in mind. 2. Make sure that you use relevant hashtags only. It will help in categorizing and making your tweets to be found easily. 3. Look for trending hashtags. It should be easy because Twitter has a particular sidebar for these tags ;). Beware though, because it can be seen as highly unprofessional to use trending hashtags that has nothing to do with your tweets. Don't just jump on a topic because it's there!
Here's another social media platform where hashtags are being used generously. Brands and marketers can indulge on up to 30 hashtags per post, but research actually shows (there are debates!) that using less is more here, too. We recently discovered a post from Trackmaven that showed that for Instagram users with more than 1000 followers, using five to six hashtags works best, while for those who have fewer than 1000 followers, posts with 11 or more hashtags gain the most interaction.
How do you use hashtags on the 'gram to your advantage, you ask? Listen up!
1. Implement hashtags at the end of your captions instead of the caption itself. One or two tags here will do. You can also put them in the comment section, like we showed in the photo above (this is often the best route to take) 2. Take a look at your competitors and see how they are using hashtags. Don’t worry, there is nothing wrong with getting inspiration from others, just make sure you do it discreetly ;) 3. Make use of the search function. This is actually the counterpart of Twitter’s trending tweets/hashtags section. If you haven’t known yet, Instagram users now have the option to follow a particular hashtag. See, it clearly shows how powerful and effective hashtags are. 4. Beware of the shadowban! Check your tags often to ensure that they won't be picked up by Instagram's ever-changing algorithms and get those posts blocked. Preview shares some handy tips & tricks on how to be very careful when it comes to this!
Unlike Twitter and Instagram, not all brands and marketers swear by the effectivity of hashtags here (if you want to know what side we're on, we're iffy about it, too!) Some say they are mainly used to categorize conversation. Needless to say, there are also some tips we'd like to share on how you can use hashtags on Facebook.
1. Do not over-indulge on the number of hashtags you can use here simply because there are no restrictions. We still find it professional if you use only one or two hashtags in your post. 2. Keep an eye on your analytics. See if there are significant changes when you use hashtags— be it an increase or a decrease in metrics. This will help you decide if it's working for your brand. 3. Look for trending hashtags, but make sure that they are relevant to your post like we always do.
As we all know, LinkedIn is where most professionals, startups, entrepreneurs, and small business owners hook up. Hashtags are also welcome on this platform, but should always be used professionally. Here’s a real quick tip: separate your hashtags from the main status updates or comments (like you can see in the example above!) It really does make your brand’s posts and profile still visible without cluttering your entire timeline.
We can only say that hashtags on this social media platform are only clickable when placed in the Pin description. They are also not searchable. To find content, users need to search for a particular keyword instead, so just be creative in choosing the right hashtags. For now, we can all sit and wait to find out when the platform will join the bandwagon and use hashtags to their full potential.
There you have it - not all hashtags are created equal, and the more you know about how to implement them correctly for each platform, the better your reach on social. Have you used hashtags differently? We know how the concept changes quickly so we'd love to hear your comments below.